James felt his legs start to feel very heavy. He’d been walking for hours, and was now, at last, almost home. Just ten more miles to go. The fact the roads had been closed due to some production or other hadn’t helped, but with his knowledge of the local area he’d managed to get through the roadblocks. He noticed a bus had stopped on the other side of the road, facing the wrong way. A strange woman stood in the middle of the road, arms above her head.
“Ha ha!” the woman laughed, almost cackling. “You are now cursed to remain on this bus forever. The door shall never open should you want to get off!” She almost cackled again.
Although feeling tired, James felt he had to do something. He ran across the road, and pulled the lever beside the door at the front of the bus, which opened the door immediately. “You may have stopped the door from opening for them getting off, but not for me getting on!”, he called to the woman. He stood on the first step and looked at the oddly full bus for the time of night. The driver looked at him strangely, as did the passengers. “Quick, everyone! Get off now!” He yelled. When there was no movement, he yelled again, “MOVE!”
The driver opened his compartment, looked at the passengers on the single-decked vehicle. “This must be part of the improvisation!” he said to the old lady in the first seat, who nodded. She stood, quickly followed by the other passengers, and slowly, in single file, they made their way off the bus.
The last to disembark was a girl with bright yellow dreadlocks. She smiled at James who was still standing on the step, waiting for the passengers to disembark. He also kept his eyes on the woman in the road, who now stood with her arms folded. “You’re not part of this, are you?” The girl with the dreadlocks whispered, as she stepped passed him.
The other passengers and the driver joined the woman in the middle of the road, all milling in confusion. The dreadlock girl waited as James stepped off the bus.
“Cut!!!” A man with a clipboard came running over, his face contorted with fury.
“Danny, calm down!” The girl with the dreadlocks said. “It was bound to happen eventually.”
“Not on my watch! And especially not twice!” Danny yelled, before joining the group in the road. “That’s it for tonight. We’ve all had enough. Come back tomorrow, guys!”
James looked up the road, and saw other people with cameras, lights and seats in various places. On the corner he saw a new building which looked like a pub or restaurant. “I’ve done something wrong, haven’t I?” James asked the girl.
“Yes, but no. I’m Olivia.” she said. “You look shattered. I live just around the corner. Come back with me, if you want to, and I’ll make you a coffee. I can explain all then.”
“A coffee sounds good.” James sighed. “OK, then, but just be aware I don’t normally go back to strangers’ houses.” They walked along the road, passed the Ram Arms, which puzzled James.
“You’re not a stranger now,” Olivia smiled, “You’re my hero!” She burst out laughing. “A hero without a name!” She added.
“Oh. Sorry. I’m James.” he felt his cheeks begin to burn. They walked to the end of Raxmand Avenue and left onto Queensward South, where Olivia stopped at the first gate to open it. Once again James looked puzzled. “You’re kidding me!?” Olivia’s head shake and strange expression told him she wasn’t kidding. “Sorry,” James continued, “It’s just that my Nanna and Grandpa used to live here… number 97.”